My short film - "The Healing"


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joecartoon131

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My short film - "The Healing"
« on: August 03, 2008, 09:10:22 PM »
I recently just finished post on my short film, The Healing - the screenplay to which can be read in the "Writing contest: the voting" post - and would love any feedback/crtiques.

You can view both parts of the short here:
http://www.moosepiecomedy.com/summerfilm08-joe-thehealing.html

Do you recognize the music? =0)

- Joe
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Re: My short film - "The Healing"
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2008, 12:10:05 AM »
The dialogue still shines brilliantly, however the lines are poorly-delivered (with the exception of the brother, who did an amazing job). The music was beautiful of course, and even though it is not original to the movie, it was well-placed. The sound was very good considering the lack of expensive equipment, but the camera work leaves much to be desired. In the future, try using more cuts, especially including the faces of the actors as they deliver their lines. Long continuous shots from over the shoulder look amateurish. Don't be afraid to take the time to frame your shots..there are people who consciously appreciate it, and most appreciate it on a subconscious level. I know steady cams are insanely expensive, but it is still possible to avoid shooting movement by walking with a handheld camera. I like the scenery and the wardrobe; they're subtle but clean. Overall the main weaknesses were the main actors and the camera work...Usually if one is done well it can cover up for the other, but they were both ehhh. the main strengths were the writing, and the pre-and-post-shooting work (sound, wardrobe, locations, music).
See the villain's larger eyes insinuating a just-off-normal perspective on how they see the world? I see signs Lucius Hunt; just not as you see dead people. I am so very happy we saw..each other, and no I will not tell you what color love is. Stop asking.

joecartoon131

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Re: My short film - "The Healing"
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2008, 07:56:38 AM »
Well first, I'd like to thank you for your review/critique. I always appreciate another "eye" and "ear" examining my work. Second, I'd like to take this opportunity to respond to why some of the things were the way they were in the film.

First up, the dialogue. I do agree in some areas the delivery wasn't top notch ("You look LOST" - being one that stands out, though volume wasn't an issue there) however I also feel that the actors, for the most part, did a good job. They're not professionals and did what they could. One of my favorite moments in terms of dialogue is when the two guys are talking (over the shoulder in the second part) and Morgan says "she asked me if I remembered the old days when it was just the two of us" and I like how genuine he was in the delivery. Of course, everyone's opinion here will vary - as they do in almost every film review (which is why there are so many critics).

The music. I actually had something else in mind while filming and it was only when I was listening to The Happening and heard "Be With You" while editing that it hit me to use it. Finding emotional pieces throughout the soundtrack was tough, but there were just enough for the fifteen minutes of the film.

The camera work. When doing films, I storyboard, extensively, and spend a lot of time planning out each shot. The shots are the way they are because of the perspective I wanted - on the actors and their backgrounds. Knowing I didn't have sets and would be filming in live locations that don't allow manipulation, I had to take the best angle of that area. Of course being in real locations, the storyboards don't always match up if there's something in the background you don't want, and that's when you have to shift the camera, or the actors a few feet to the right or left. I personally like to have a few over-the-shoulder dialogue scenes because I like to see the actor's profile when turning to speak. As for the long cuts during dialogue. I think it keeps a sense of realism by not cutting away from one person to the next while speaking. I try to go as long as I can on a shot, as long as the actors aren't supposed to be moving out of frame. This was also the first film where I used the "shaky" cam method (following an actor walking). Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. If it didn't work for you, or anyone else, that's cool. I still liked attempting it. It's a very hard method to make believable. Being a Night fan, there's always that moment for me in The Sixth Sense when the camera follows Cole's mom from the kitchen into the laundry room then back to the kitchen where she shrieks and the camera looks over all the open cupboards. Everytime I see it I can always tell the camera guy was walking behind her (he didn't even try to hide it) and then panning with the camera. It takes me right out of the film.

The scenery. I didn't realize until after the filming was done that there were so many trees in the film. Watching it I was taken aback at how each scene seemed to be framed in green either by the grass, the plants, or the trees (I do live in the ninth greenest area of the U.S.). So I went out and shot some trees. They became a character and I made sure when I placed them in that they reflected the mood. After Morgan learns of Angie's passing the trees gently swayed to reflect loss. When he sees her at the end, they've come to life.

The costumes. Not much to say here. The actors brought a few wardrobes and we collectively decided what would look best against what others would be wearing.

Well I hope I offered some insight in my mini-commentary and was able to explain many of the reasons for why things were the way they were in the film.
Fate Won't Let You Hide Forever

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Re: My short film - "The Healing"
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2008, 11:28:06 AM »
well when i said over the shoulder, i was mainly referring to the scene where the wife is talking with her husband from the car. You can barely see his face or any of his expressions and I think it would help keep my attention on what they were saying if the camera were centered on the face of the person while they were talking rather than between the two of them. The profile shots were ok. Kinda reminded me of the porch scene from The Village, lol. And by framing better, I mean try to get whole objects (and definitely faces/heads) into the shot so it doesnt feel like things are cut off and making my eyes try to follow something out of the area of action.  Actually this site explains what I'm trying to say bettter than I can say it:
http://www.mediacollege.com/video/camera/tutorial/01-framing.html   (its very short and to the point, and I'm sure you've had it in a class somewhere before if you're making films like this, but give it like a 2-minute glance)

And that "guy" you said delivered that great line is the brother whose acting I already said was amazing :P
See the villain's larger eyes insinuating a just-off-normal perspective on how they see the world? I see signs Lucius Hunt; just not as you see dead people. I am so very happy we saw..each other, and no I will not tell you what color love is. Stop asking.

Erik

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Re: My short film - "The Healing"
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2008, 02:16:12 PM »
For an amature movie: it's good, it really is!

It's well writen, well preformed (though that one isn't perfect, but I've seen worse!) and the music just fits!

I have just two questions left:
-How did you deal with the music from The Happening? Did you buy the rights to use it, is music free to use in movies, or did you just use it: no matter what the outcome?
-Is the movie inspired by M. Nights screenplay 'Labour Of Love'?
We can breath in space,
they just don't want us to escape...

Sanford

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Re: My short film - "The Healing"
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2008, 02:34:38 PM »
Just watched it. Wasn't bad. You'll definitely get better the more films you make. But yeah, some of the angles were either too close or just didn't make a lot of sense. Acting wasn't bad either. I actually liked the main guy quite a bit.

Just keep making them. Practice makes perfect.

joecartoon131

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Re: My short film - "The Healing"
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2008, 05:32:14 PM »
In response to Erik's questions:

I didn't purchase the rights to use The Happening soundtrack. Music is "free" (in a way) to use as long as you do not attempt to sell or make profit from the use of the copyrighted material, do not hold public screenings or events using the copyrighted material, and do not pass ownership of the material off as your own or someone else's. The one about making money is the most important because then you're stealing from the artist by being paid for their work. Using music in a public setting is a tricky issue. Technically every traveling D.J. should have permission to play the songs they do. Funny thing, I was originally thinking of using music from the Lost television soundtrack.

As for Labor of Love, I know of it but have never read it. The plot of The Healing came to me originally as a man and a woman in a garden. Then I thought about how they got there and went from that point. Since there was more mystery to Morgan walking to get there I went in that direction instead of having him drive. Intercutting scenes of a man driving (especially when he cried) wouldn't have been too dramatic because he would have needed to keep his focus on the road. Plus if he daydreamed that much behind the wheel, he probably wouldn't have made it to where he was going!
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Re: My short film - "The Healing"
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2008, 10:54:54 PM »
Actually, even my church has to pay a very small sum to artists each time we use one of their songs in a service, assuming the song is not public domain or an expired copyright.
See the villain's larger eyes insinuating a just-off-normal perspective on how they see the world? I see signs Lucius Hunt; just not as you see dead people. I am so very happy we saw..each other, and no I will not tell you what color love is. Stop asking.

Unbroken

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Re: My short film - "The Healing"
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2008, 12:05:47 PM »
Great stuff joecartoon131. Really good, one of the best "amature" short films I've ever seen. 8 stars. Keep it up, I'd like to see some more of your work.

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Re: My short film - "The Healing"
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2008, 11:38:29 PM »
I really liked this movie, but this this for what it's worth (I know nothing about filming as it pertains to operating cameras.)  I'm trying to get into it as we speak.  It was a beautiful score, the acting was ok, a bit mugged though, next time tell the actors that when they play emotion to think about an "As if" meaning like as if some in their family was really going through this.  However, tell them not to cry if they can't come out of it right after you say cut and make sure they try to improve the whole movie.   Some of the camera angles were cool and the editing was good.  I also like how you didn't give us why she dies right away and at the end when they said their final goodbyes.  That was right on.